After 25 years of killing women in bars across north Florida, a man will be put to death by lethal injection.
Michael Zack III will die at 6 pm on Tuesday for murdering Ravonne Smith. He befriended her and then beat and stabbed her with an oyster blade in June 1996. He was also sentenced to a life term in prison after being convicted of murdering Laura Rosillo. They met in a bar.
Zack began his nine-day criminal spree in Tallahassee where he frequented a bar. The bartender was willing to lend Zack her truck when Zack’s girlfriend told him he would be evicted. Zack took it with him and never returned.
Zack went to a bar in Niceville, Florida Panhandle where he met the owner of a construction firm. Zack’s friend offered him a place to stay in his house when he learned Zack lived in a pickup truck. Zack stole later two guns and $42 from the man. According to court documents, he pawned his guns.
He invited Rosillo to the beach for drugs at another bar. According to court documents, he then beat her, drag her partially dressed into the dunes and strangled her. He also kicked sand in her face. He met Smith the next day in a Pensacola pub. They went to the beach , where they smoked marijuana. Later she brought him to her home with her boyfriend.
Zack assaulted her at home by slamming her head against the floor with a glass bottle, raping her, and stabbing her in the center chest four times with an oyster knife. Then he stole her purse, VCR, and television and tried to sell the electronics. According to court documents, the pawnshop suspected that Zack had stolen the items and fled. He hid for two days in an empty home before being arrested.
Zack, 54 years old, has admitted to killing Smith. Zack claimed that he became angry and beat her after she commented on his sister’s murder of his mother. He claimed that he believed Smith was leaving the room to grab a weapon when he attacked her.
Zack’s attorneys sought to stop his execution by arguing that he was a victim of posttraumatic stress disorder and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court refused Zack’s request for a stay.
Zack’s death would be the eighth execution under Gov. Ron DeSantis has been in office since 2019. This is the sixth execution this year, after no executions from 2020 to 2022. DeSantis made tougher and more comprehensive death penalty laws an issue in his campaign.